O’Keeffe claims narrow TCR pole at The Bend

Dylan O’Keeffe

Dylan O’Keeffe became the first driver to claim multiple TCR Australia pole positions following qualifying at The Bend Motorsport Park.

O’Keeffe’s lap aboard the Alfa Romeo Guilietta was 0.08s faster than Will Brown (Hyundai i30 TCR) as the top four drivers set times inside the 1:55 bracket.

Brown set the early pace with a 1:57.4362, half a second off the pace set by Aaron Cameron in practice on Friday.

However, the champion-elect’s time was quickly bettered by Cameron, with Tony D’Alberto (Honda Civic Type R TCR) slotting in between the pair in second.

James Moffat’s session came to an early end when he parked on the exit of Turn 12 with suspected drive shaft failure.

As the GRM driver climbed out his team-mate Chris Pither (Renault Megane RS TCR) had an off at Turn 10, spinning through the weeds and coming to a rest by Turn 11.

Pither had been half a second faster to the first split than Brown, who had returned to the top of the timing sheets with a 1:56.1804.

Cameron improved to a 1:56.3860 to improve on his own personal best with O’Keeffe moving to third with a 1:56.4908.

Brown then lowered the benchmark even further to bank a 1:55.7022, D’Alberto also dipping below 1:56 to record a 1:55.9738.

With seven minutes to run Tim Brook climbed from the Cupra while holding down 11th, doing so just as O’Keeffe shot to the top of the timings screens with a 1:56.6206 effort.

That lap would ultimately net O’Keeffe pole over Brown, D’Alberto, Cameron, and Nathan Morcom in fifth.

A number of drivers found the going tough, with Iain McDougall (Audi RS 3 TCR) having a spin as the session got going, while John Martin also ran off around the triple right handers in the middle part of the lap.

Alexandra Whitley (Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR) and James Allen (Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR) also spun, the former at Turn 14 and Allen at Turn 13 in the latter part of the session.

In the dying moments of the session Pither had a second off, this time at Turn 12, consigning him to 11th place on the grid as he was unable to get back to the line before the flag fell to complete another lap.

The opening TCR Australia Series race of the weekend is scheduled to begin at 1245 local time.

Qualifying Results

Pos Num Team  Driver                  Car Time
1 9  Ashley Seward Motorsport  Dylan O’Keeffe (Vic)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:55.6206
2 30  HMO Customer Racing  Will Brown (Qld)   Hyundai I30N  1:55.7022
3 50  Wall Racing  Tony D’Alberto (Vic)   Honda Civic Type R  1:55.8574
4 2  Melbourne Performance Centre  Aaron Cameron (Vic)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:55.9765
5 11  HMO Customer Racing  Nathan Morcom (NSW)   Hyundai I30N  1:56.0975
6 777  Kelly Racing  Andre Heimgartner (NZ)   Opel Astra  1:56.4925
7 33  Garry Rogers Motorsport  Chris Pither (NZ)   Renault Megane RS  1:56.7122
8 7  Garry Rogers Motorsport  Jordan Cox (NSW)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:56.7606
9 24  Wall Racing  John Martin (NSW)   Honda Civic Type R  1:57.0799
10 3  Melbourne Performance Centre  Iain McDougall (Vic)   Audi RS 3  1:57.1208
11 8  Taskforce / Melb.Perf.Centre  Jason Bright (Vic)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:57.1683
12 97  Melbourne Performance Centre  Liam McAdam (Qld)   Audi RS 3  1:57.3439
13 64  Garage 1  Tim Brook (NSW)   Cupra SEAT Leon  1:57.4500
14 10  Ashley Seward Motorsport  James Allen (Vic)   Alfa Romeo Giulietta  1:57.5452
15 100  Melbourne Performance Centre  Russell Ingall (Qld)   Audi RS 3  1:57.6149
16 62  Kelly Racing  Chelsea Angelo (Vic)   Opel Astra  1:57.6683
17 35  Melbourne Performance Centre  Alexandra Whitley (Qld)   Volkswagen Golf GTI  1:58.2228
18 27  Milldun Motorsport  Barton Mawer (NSW)   Subaru WRX STi  1:58.8108
19 19  Milldun Motorsport  Matthew Simmons (Qld)   Subaru WRX STi  1:59.3812
20 34  Garry Rogers Motorsport  James Moffat (Vic)   Renault Megane RS  1:59.8698

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